roman greenberg 298.88.
(photo credit: Blake-Ezra Cole)
Roman Greenberg visited home and showed off the first heavyweight boxing title belt ever won by an Israeli on Monday afternoon in Tel Aviv.
The newly crowned International Boxing Organization Intercontinental Heavyweight champ and his long-time promoter, Robert Waterman of Fight Academy, hosted the Israeli media to talk about the 23-year-old's future plans, which they believe will see him crowned as the world heavyweight champ by the end of 2007, and "maybe even this year."
Waterman was full of superlatives about the undefeated Israeli, claiming he could be the world's "first billion-dollar boxer" and the "most important Jewish sportsman since Mark Spitz or maybe even [18th century boxing champ] Daniel Mendoza."
Waterman is in constant negotiations for Greenberg's next fight, which could be a big one. Among the main options are taking on Italian Paolo Vidoz for the European title or squaring off against American contender Shannon Briggs. Another option is challenging the winner of the upcoming IBO World Heavyweight Championship bout between Chris Byrd and Wladimir Klitschko. According to Waterman, as the IBO's Intercontinental champ, Greenberg is eligible for a shot at the Byrd-Klitschko winner.
"The only fighter that can beat Roman Greenberg is Roman Greenberg," Waterman said. "Roman can make [former world champ] Lennox Lewis look small."
Greenberg (22-0, 15 KOs), who scored a sixth-round technical knockout over Russian Alex Vassilev in Monte Carlo last month to win the belt, is also eager to take on the big boys.
"I've been training as a professional for four or five years. I'm 100 percent ready," he said. "I want to show the world that Jews can fight."
The pair were naturally asked about fighting in Israel, but Waterman didn't sound optimistic. "We'd love to," he said, "but we need more support."